22 Oct 2012

Regional election held in Spain

10:05 am on 22 October 2012

The People's Party retained power in an election in the region of Galicia in north-west Spain on Sunday. It was seen as a test of the government's economic policy.

The People's Party has ruled the region for 24 of the past 31 years. Polls suggest Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a native of Galicia has lost support nationally because of austerity measures.

Exit polls suggest the People's Party won between 39 - 42 seats in the regional assembly, which has 75 seats.

The BBC reports a regional election was also held in the Basque Country, where separatist parties were expected to do well.

The Basque Nationalist Party is predicted to win 24-27 seats and the Euskal Herria Bildu coalition 23 - 26 seats.

Elections are also due in the Catalonia region in a few weeks.

Spain has been in economic difficulty since the 2008 global financial crisis caused the property market to crash, triggering huge banking losses.

Unemployment is about 25% nationally and 21% in Galicia. There have been widespread protests against public spending cuts.

Spain is under pressure to ask Brussels for a bailout. It is already in line to receive 100 billion euros in eurozone loans for the banks.